Southern Steam Railroad Logo Shirt
- Logo Printed on Front
- 100% Cotton
- Shirt Color = Forest Green, Black
The 1966 inaugural trip started on Aug. 18. My photograph of the 4501 at the Terminal Station introduced the account in Trains by editor David P. Morgan, headlined, “I could write a book.” In true Morgan fashion, the prediction would become a reality two years later with publication of Locomotive 4501. Kalmbach expects to bring the story up to date and republish the book when the locomotive returns to service.
Morgan (1927-’90), editor for 34 years until he retired in 1987, was kept informed about every step of the purchase and restoration, and he wrote enthusiastically about the locomotive. He and his wife, Margaret J. Morgan (1932-’93), were along on the inaugural run as well as later trips.
Many other people saw the locomotive on that inaugural trip. They include editor Jim Wrinn (on his father’s shoulders at Asheville) and Phillips, then a young adult. But what others traveled the entire eight days, besides myself?
Paul Merriman, the locomotive’s owner and a founder of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, watched over every detail. Merriman (1909-’01), who had paid $5,000 for the locomotive, was a DuPont engineer in electronics research at Chattanooga, and TVRM’s president from 1961 to 1978. He deeded the locomotive to the museum in 1975 and was present for the 25th anniversary in 1991.
Walter Dove (1904-’97) worked for the Southern Railway for 52 years. His wife, Adrian (1902-’80), joined us for part of the trip; the Claytors had insisted that he call her and invite her to join. Morgan wrote about the “marble” in his wrist, praising his ability to make music with the whistle.
Sometimes it took two people to keep the fire hot, so Dove summoned Lloyd Ash (1910-’90) of Eckerty, Ind. Ash, then a locomotive engineer, had fired the 4501 before, and did an excellent job of keeping the fire hot. He worked for the Southern Railway for 36 years.
Claytors’ children were along, kept busy cleaning and polishing the locomotive in the proud Southern tradition of immaculate appearance. Murray, the daughter, now is a doctor in the Washington area. Graham III, among other positions, worked for Southern Pacific, RailAmerica as senior vice president-rail from 1996 to 2002, and in transportation consulting for the ports of Oakland and San Francisco and in Peru, Chile, and Australia. He moved to Claytor Lake in Virginia in May.
I was still in the cab when there was “thump.” It did not sound serious to me, but Dove knew immediately. A spring saddle over the third driving wheel had broken, and the spring started to disintegrate along the right-of-way. It was serious. We were on single track and the Sparkplug, the fast freight with auto parts, was not far behind. “There were very worried faces when spring hanger broke. It could not have been worse. It is amazing they would go on and do something with the steam program after this,” Claytor III recalled a few weeks ago.
But parts were located and brought overnight to Somerset, Ky., where repairs were made the next morning. We were on our way, 24 hours late, to the meeting with Brosnan, who liked on-time trains. The Claytors were worried, Walter Dove was happy to meet Brosnan, “the boss,” and in a short time we were traveling through the loops at Old Fort to the main line at Salisbury and the terminus of the trip at Richmond. Crowds had been friendly, and the 4501 was on its way to a long and continuing career in the Southern/Norfolk Southern steam program.
JOHN GRUBER is a long-time Trains contributor, founder and president of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art, and editor of Railroad Heritage. He has been a freelance railroad photographer since 1960, and received awards from the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society in 1994 for lifetime achievement in photography and in 2010 for an article about Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg.
*Image is a representation and may not be exact